Antimatter interview (2003), unreleased

Graver Motion

Interview: Kuronen

The 53 seconds of air raid siren wailing at the beginning of Antimatter’s Lights Out (The End Records MMIII) serve as a converse magnification of the broad-spectrum implications exhibited by the record. In some ways, those 53 seconds are the maximisation of Lights Out, all the sky and uphill the listener will see for the course of its duration. Everything that comes after is slighter, fairer and subtler, which is about the best result the party of understatement could ever hope to negotiate. Lights Out says a lot even though it hardly moves its lips.

Antimatter, as most of you will know by now, is a duo comprising of Mick Moss and Duncan Patterson. Lights Out is their ‘sophomore’ release. The most educated of you may have heard the band’s debut album, Saviour, which was released by The End Records in 2002. Lights Out is not a mindless replica of the first record. Whereas Saviour was packaged in white, had some sort of angel figure on the cover and was musically melancholic at the most, the darkly laid out Lights Out takes a plunge into the realms of dimmer material and graver motion. With acoustic guitars, keyboards, male and female voices, and a weighty sense of ambience, Antimatter have composed lengthy, trance-like tracks that step the fine line between spacious and minimalist.

Lights Out is a curious evolution from the structured music of Saviour. Explaining the progress from the first album to the second, Mick Moss goes all the way back to his genesis as a songwriter.

“My earliest music was always experimental, progressive and instrumental, but when I began to sing I began writing ‘songs’ and I focused purely on vocal, lyric and melody. The songs I put forward for Saviour were from a time when I was still writing songs and completely ignoring the concept of instrumental passages, and I realised this when it came to writing for Lights Out. So when the time came for the next batch of songs, I fleshed them out and added dynamics and generally breathed life into the frame of things, which is something I never did for Saviour.

“The writing process for Lights Out included looking back at Saviour and asking myself what I could’ve done better. This is a process I never went through in doing Saviour because it was my first album. There is an urge to mature my compositions in now, but this is something I couldn’t do on the first album because it was my first experience with recording. On Saviour my ambition was purely to get a good recording of my best songs, but on Lights Out my ambition was to improve on Saviour.”

Antimatter’s music has a very earthy, unpretentious feel to it. It seems to reflect quite unequivocally the personalities behind it. Striving for honesty and sincerity, the compositions do not allow the presence of any surplus components that could not establish a connection to the core of the art. The music claims rights only to the essential and indispensable. The temperament lies not only in the spirit and integrity, but in the overpowering wholeness.

Mick reflects, “Duncan always says that in a lot of full bands, you get guys who just stick to one thing i.e. a guitarist or a bassist, so they focus on their instrument as a factor that’s more important than the overall picture—because all they manage to see is their instrument or their ‘part’. So you’ll get a lead guitarist who doesn’t know when to stop and this detracts from the maturity of the composition. We simply write pieces of music and we see this as our job. Whereas some arseholes may pat someone on the back for being able to play the drums really fast, we acknowledge each other for writing a good song or doing a good turn in a composition. So for this reason our stuff doesn’t come out pretentious, and everything that’s in there is there for a reason—not because some guy’s standing there afraid not to play for five minutes so he adds a part so as not to look stupid on stage. Also, we don’t feel the need to poodle to a specific style, so overall our music isn’t being compromised by egos or forced stylisations.”

Rather wondrously, Mick and Duncan mould Antimatter’s music largely as two separate units.

“We write our own songs in our own time and we play most of the instruments on our own tracks so we don’t really work together. Our albums are like two solo EP’s sewn together and it works really well because our styles go together. In the studio, I’ll do a little on his tracks and he’ll do a little on mine but this is merely a smudging together of the dividing lines.”

Perhaps it is this that brings dynamism into Antimatter’s music. Mick believes one only has to listen to the first three songs on Lights Out to see the bumps and drops in there. Nonetheless, he says he has heard it said before that Lights Out has got no dynamics.

“What do these people mean by dynamics? Do they even know the meaning of the word? I spent months getting the peaks and dips just right, and then some pseudo-intellectual shit head writes that there’s no dynamics in the album, and in the same breath that same shit head will review a really crap metal album with absolutely no dynamics and say it’s the best thing he’s heard for ages.”

Dynamic or not, Lights Out delivers one healthy notion: when it becomes difficult to move, stop moving.


Enid interview from Qvadrivivm #4 (2001)


Interview: Arkadin

No preamble - no mistake, no catastrophe, yet, however, Enid, at the height of their powers. Poetic, artistic, dramatic. What survives and what does not, what lives on. Enid.

Now that some new musicians have been recruited for Enid, has the level of communication and the song writing process, generally speaking, changed at all? Under these circumstances, is there such a thing as rehearsals now? In short, how has it been working out with the new members?

Martin: “The level of communication has indeed changed in the way that I am now actually able to communicate with the other musicians. The song-writing process has not changed yet and hopefully will never differ from the way it looked like in the past of Enid’s history. It’s a fact that the new musicians Florian and I have found for our line-up aren’t that skilled to be interfered in the song-writing yet. My opinion is that it causes many problems if five musicians would go out and compose songs. It’s always a long way to go until the actual work is completed and appears as the result of several quarrels and compromises. The ‘band’ Enid exists since a few months only and it’s difficult to give an exact impression of how the work goes on, but from my point of view the harmony within the band could not be better. Although half of the members are not musicians with a real musical education and haven’t even played their instruments longer than for approximately half a year, I must say that I’m more than just satisfied with the actual results. We have recorded some old stuff from the demo Enid already, but that was just meant to be a test of how the members would work under studio-conditions.”

With several releases behind you, do you have any definite conception now of how people are reacting to the music of Enid? Do you find any particular country or crowd appreciating Enid more than another? I’m most curious to hear how other classical musicians, unfamiliar with metal, would think of Enid… have you had any comments?

Florian: “It’s always a difficult task to judge how people react on Enid. Generally, I have to say that it’s most likely that we only receive the positive reactions, nobody strongly disliking our kind of music would do the effort and tell it to us. Thus, we’re forced to look for all reviews on our releases ourselves and draw a clue about the general opinion from that. I do have the impression that most people had less problems in comprehending with both our demo and the debut Nachtgedanken than with the recent album Abschiedsreigen - that may be due to the more and more complex style and the fact that Martin’s style has changed a lot and differs from the Summoning similarities nowadays.

“About which country’s listeners appreciate Enid more than others I can only suppose… I’d say Germans and Austrians may like it, but we’ve also received a lot of positive reactions from ‘exotic’ countries like Korea for example. Generally it is my strong opinion that it doesn’t depend on where you come from, but who you are and how you feel towards music that makes you understand what Enid stands for. Artistic expression and love for emotional art surely goes beyond all borders, so for me it doesn’t matter who actually admires Enid’s art, but simply that somebody likes it.

“I know from Martin that a lot of his teachers in piano, organ, singing and arrangements have been quite impressed by what he has composed for Enid, especially with Abschiedsreigen. Of course they particularly disliked the vocals and the aggressive style, but in general they did like the ideas and the compositions.”

Looking back, the programmed guitars on Abschiedsreigen, the latest release, were definitely first of their sort for me and for many others, I believe. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any metal band before that has used programmed guitars. How was that executed, anyway? Was it done on some sort of special synthesizer?

Martin: “No special synthesizer actually. I’ve used a normal keyboard from Yamaha (PSR 6000) and a computer-sequencer. That was all. For the guitars I’ve used a modified form of a standard distortion guitar sound and later completed it with an additional distortion effect. I think that the programmed guitars give the music a certain charm which Enid’s music otherwise wouldn’t have. Now, since we have a ‘real’ band, there would be striking differences in sound and technique of the guitar-lines anyway. The new material will sound different…”

Understanding all the influence Enid has drawn from Summoning, I’m wondering if you ever met Silenius or Protector personally or keep communication with them in any way? Are they aware of your band? What are your thoughts on Summoning today?

Florian: “We’ve been together in Vienna three or four years ago and had the chance to meet Silenius for some minutes, just to have a little chat or something. I’ve sent the demo tape to him as well, and he replied and told me he liked it pretty much. Nachtgedanken was not so much to his taste I’ve heard, due to the strange sound probably. He seemed to be rather interested in what we’re doing, and every time we’re talking together when I’m doing an interview with Summoning, we talk about Enid and how we’re proceeding.

“I do have some loose contact with Protector as well, but only every now and then. He’s a totally busy person and I do not have the impression it’s necessary to get on his nerves with my stories about Enid. I’ve never heard any comment of his about Enid.

“It’s no secret that Summoning has always been kind of my favourite band, they have been the first band provoking more in me than just liking their music, the first band that was able to inspire me in any way, that was capable of drawing imaginary pictures in my head. It’s useless to say that I admire nearly everything they’ve ever done… among my all time favourites are The Passing of the Grey Company, Marching Homewards and Orthanc from the Minas Morgul album, Angbands Schmieden, Elfstone and Over Old Hills from Dol Guldur and more than half of the recent Stronghold masterpiece. The MCD and the first album are okay but not as special as the following ones, at least not for me.”

How do you feel Tolkien would react to Summoning and your own music if he were alive today? Do you think he’d show an appreciation for all of the attention the metal world had given him?

Florian: “I don’t think so at all - he lived many many years before people thought about electric guitars, blastspeed drums, shrieking… it would be awfully stupid to think a character like him would’ve liked the metal music of today. We have to consider that he was a very inventive person, having developed an own world with own history, languages… and Summoning have adopted the concept and written music to that, like a soundtrack. Bands like Gorgoroth or Gandalf or Cirith Gorgor or what ever have only used names invented by Tolkien but have not been inspired by the atmosphere he intended to create. We’ve to be honest and say that Tolkien would not like people abusing his inventions for intentions he could never accept, apart from the probability that he would appreciate musicians inventing their own worlds much more.

“Actually it’s rather senseless to discuss such theoretic thoughts, as we’ll never know the truth. The same as with the interesting and absolutely stupid theory that Vikings would’ve listened to Einherjer or Enslaved or Thyrfing. I can only laugh about that view, really…”

Going into the lyrical, poetic side of Enid, I must ask the following question: do you find yourself to be a ‘nostalgic’ person, Martin? Do you believe it is possible to bridge a gap between the past and the present in one’s life; to achieve a healthy equilibrium despite all of the obstacles and traps set?

Martin: “Hm, nostalgic… in a way you are right, yes. But more than nostalgic I would describe my personal mood as romantic with wistful, melancholic touches. I wouldn’t see so many nostalgic elements in my thoughts just because of the fact that I don’t love the ancient times or that I want to have them back or want to live during those times but that I love to think of how people may have spent their lives during this ancient times and that they may have had a more intensive contact with nature, how their view of the world looked like, how their thoughts, moods and dreams looked like.

“I can’t remember any question that was like yours here. I’m not sure if I’ve got you the right way but my opinion while thinking of this matter is that it’s absolutely necessary to bridge a gap between one’s past and present because our history is the basement of our existence. Without history we wouldn’t be anything because we would have to learn everything from the beginning onwards in a new way. Knowledge would be reduced to a minimum.

“Everyone must bridge their own gap between the past and the present, to become an autonomous individual…”

Do you believe in a ‘life after death,’ Martin; supernatural forces not of this world; prescience in human beings? The lyrical themes hint at some of these things, and this is the reason I ask. Do you have any faith in some of these themes? And do you think there is any relationship between living forever and, to borrow from the classic Swedish death metal band Seance, living ‘fornever’?

Martin: “Life after death: no. Supernatural forces, prescience in human beings: yes. I don’t believe in these forces or phenomena in the form of an existing power like a god or something like that but of something natural that a human’s simple brain does not understand. The lyrical themes don’t hint towards life after death but, you are right, towards mystical or supernatural phenomena. For me those mystical elements are straightly connected to the world of fantasy.

“Nevertheless, I’m fascinated of those mystical things because they show me nature’s power and reduce my existence down to what I have to be: a human.”

What constitutes knowledge for you, and what value do you generally place on it in your life? Do you consider yourself a ‘wise’ individual? What could be the essence of wisdom, if not to be conscious of your own ignorance, to coin the Platonic revelation? Is there more to knowledge than merely power?

Martin: “Knowledge is only something superficial. It’s something to show off or to work and to handle with to create something new, whatever it is. Musical knowledge is essential for me because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to compose for Enid. But that’s what I wanted to say. Knowledge is only a basement for more, a tool in a way. People who only know and know and learn for to learn more and more and never create something with their knowledge or work with it or even hand it over and share it with others are superficialists (so the word exists, I don’t know) because they don’t emerge from their lake of knowledge and so their whole learning was useless. While talking of Plato, consciousness of your own ignorance doesn’t seem to be true to me, because when wisdom is used the right way to really research it has nothing to do with ignorance. I think Plato is not the right example because the Greek research during those times was based on dogmatic science so that Plato as a philosopher protested against this. But he was actually right because there are and there have been persons who are actually not conscious of their own ignorance.

“If I consider myself a ‘wise’ individual? Hä? I don’t know.”

I see that you’re involved in several other projects, too: Elvenknight and Old Man’s Chicken. Can you give some introduction to these groups? What’s this Old Man’s Chicken about anyway? Have the guys in Old Man’s Child given you any problems yet?

Florian: “It seems the situation has changed pretty much, or I’ve been a bit lazy in updating those things on our website. However… I’ve quitted working with Elvenknight after the first recording we did. Since that, Martin is doing Elvenknight together with a friend of ours, Holger. He’s something like a bard, they’re arranging Holger’s old camp fire songs together to get a bombastic fantasy-style outcome, with flutes, strings, percussions, acoustic guitars, clean voices and choirs. As far as I know they’re planning to release an album someday, and what I’ve heard so far was extremely promising.

“Old Man's Chicken was some funny idea Martin and I had two years ago, when school had been too boring. We just wanted to do some jam sessions and record a few songs about chickens, and that was the outcome. I’ve played the strings on the demo, Martin did the rest. We’ve done around 15 short songs in all imaginable styles, from black to grind, punk, ballads, just everything. It was a joke, mainly for us, and it helped to become creative for Enid again I believe. Of course we did not want to provoke any struggles with Old Man’s Child or something; we don’t know the guys at all, it was just a funny fitting name, not more.”

Do you think humor or satire in metal is a healthy thing and that there should be more, or is it better elements of satire work outside or separate from these realms? Is irony something that the common metaller can ever possibly understand?

Florian: “One of the best questions I’ve ever answered, indeed. Well, I’m a very satirical character, Martin is as well. I wish I could laugh more often to be honest, the world is serious enough actually.

“You maybe know we’ve had a song called Nebelthron on Nachtgedanken, that was meant to be a joke as well (we intended to fool a band called Bergthron with that originally). The thing is, nobody understood the joke, nearly everybody took that as a full song, even though it clearly differed from the rest. We’ve decided not to joke on official releases anymore, as Enid is actually a very serious band with serious music and contents.

“Usually we’re not trying to seem more serious than we actually are, in interviews or where ever. For me irony and satire is indeed healthy, it shows the bitter view I have on most things and I just can’t comprehend people claiming metal should have nothing to do with irony. Well, then we probably are either untrue or not metal, or both. It doesn’t matter anyway, we’re aiming for much more than satisfying the expectations ‘true’ people have on us.

“It maybe sounds arrogant, but I really had the impression so far that it’s really hard or impossible for the ‘common metaller’ to get the point in irony. It’s really better not to use it or to restrict that behaviour to circles with people understanding that way of thinking.”

Have you received any insight on how to improve the band via the criticism the press has thrown your way? Do you think musicians should be more open to negative criticism rather than positive? We often hear plenty of the good reactions to Enid, what were some of the worst?

Martin: “You want to know? Well, I must confess that even I can’t remember the worst reactions, because I own the very healthy habit to forget any of those and burn them out of my memory as far as they are really showing the incompetence of the author. Some bad reactions I remember criticised the guitars and the computer-drumming as far as the whole mood of the songs. Boring and embarrassing are words I vaguely remember in this context. As far as guitars and drumming were concerned I did learn from it and tried to improve these things what now becomes visible in form of our new line-up.

“My opinion is that criticism is an important thing but not the center of the world. Because one thing I had to learn during the last years was that a huge amount of journalists in the metal scene don’t seem to have any adequate knowledge in the field of music. They only listen (if they actually do…) and say: black or white, good or bad, embarrassing or ingenious.

“Musicians should be open to criticism, especially to its negative sorts. It gives hints to that something in the music is not perfect, that one has the chance to improve the style and to work on the band. But some other reactions should have a higher level of attention. The reactions of the fans (if there are some) and of every other impartial persons. How often did an album fail in criticism but stroke in public?”

You’ve been working with Claus Prellinger and CCP Records for a while. Are you satisfied with this partnership? What are your thoughts of the rest of the bands on this label?

Martin: “All in all I must say that I’m contented with this partnership although the quite vast distance between the label and the band causes problems. The CCP-studio and Claus as a sound-engineer work at their best and create a great working-atmosphere.

“The other bands on CCP from my point of view have a lack of niveau what just be caused by my visions how music should and how music shouldn’t actually be like.”

Besides the upcoming MCD, featuring the demo tracks and brand new track, have Enid been working on anything? Has there been any concept thought through for the next album? Do you think we will see more experimentation with traditional instruments in the future, and less metal, or will it always be the best of both worlds for Enid?

Florian: “In the last few days, the first ones in April, we’ve thought all that through again and came to the conclusion that it would be wiser to cancel the plans for the mini CD and concentrate on new material instead. So, I can’t say when a new album will be ready, but we’re definitely working on it.

“What is clear so far: it will be more compact and not a concept album. No real experiments - some changes will be that the guitars and drums will be included much better than before, so the ‘metal-aspect’ will even increase. Concerning the atmosphere, the album is supposed to be much darker, much more fantastic, yet riper and much more mature. The opportunities we have with the full line-up are vast I think, so we’ll probably use them as extensively as it’s possible. All I can say: it will still be Enid as Martin will compose the album, so you’ll definitely recognize his own style again.”

Alright, Martin, before I go, I leave you with one last question: you are lost alone in a forest, no one around you, no place to hide, and you are surrounded by vicious demons whose only weakness is mashed potatoes. There is one potato growing in the ground before you, some meters away. The problem is that by mashing this potato you make all your beloved friends and relations miserable for the rest of their lives, as this potato is where they all draw their strength and livelihood from. What do you do? Do you surrender to martyrdom, do you escape your antagonists at the price of this terrible sacrifice, or do you plot out a different course of action? I thank you for your time and patience with this interrogation…

Martin: “Both solutions are not successful. If I didn’t mash the one and only strength-and-might-potato, well… the demons would, wouldn’t they? Another question is: what would happen if the demons got the potato after I’d have mashed it? Would they retreat and go back to their cavern for the next thousand years? Or would they want more and more?

“What I find strange is how this potato made it to grow in the heart of the evil forest, where light is missing as well as enough water - not to mention that several demons could run over it. But if all this really happened, I would search for another solution. First of all I would curse all my beloved friends for not being there and protecting their one and only potato which is of that worth for them, and for leaving me alone with these vicious demons. But, hell, why are they so vicious? Could one not try to make an alliance with them? Hm, I think that would be too easy. I think I would climb on the next tree, and I’m a very good climber of course, and jump on one demon’s back, pull out his black heart and eat it. While the demon dies, his soul will be transferred into mine and would make me become a vicious demon myself, as which I could hunt down the others. After the fight would be fought and all the black blood shed, I would return to my friends and from that time on become the rescue demon of all the people in the world who are threatened by vicious demons whose only weakness is mashed potatoes…

“Wouldn’t this be the best solution?

“Thank you for this great interview. Greetings from Germany to all readers in the far away States and everywhere.”

Heckerfeld 8, D-32457 Porta Westfalica, Germany.